MPs agree by one vote to force Prime Minister to avoid no-deal with Brexit extension

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Cross-party talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have finished for a second day and are set to continue on Friday.

Number 10 described Thursday's talks as "detailed and productive" after "both sets of negotiating teams met for four-and-a-half hours".

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Government and the Opposition hope to meet again tomorrow for further work to find a way forward to deliver on the referendum, mindful of the need to make progress ahead of the forthcoming European Council."

The Brexit discussions continued after MPs voted to force the prime minister to further delay the date of Brexit - by just one vote - in a bid to avoid no-deal.

The bill passed by one vote - it now needs to pass the House of Lords. Credit: PA

The legislation cleared the Commons by 313 votes to 312 following its third reading.

The bill was tabled by Labour former minister Yvette Cooper, and other senior MPs, and requires Theresa May to table a motion seeking MPs' approval for an extension to the Article 50 process.

However it would be up to the European Union to agree how long the extension will be and the bill still needs to be approved by the House of Lords, who were assessing it today.

Earlier on, the House of Commons was briefly interpreted on Thursday when water started pouring through the ceiling of the press gallery.

Deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle called a halt to proceedings and MPs had to exit the chamber, after water could be heard gushing through the ceiling.

One MP joked it could probably be seen as a metaphor for how broken parliament is.

Conservative MP Ross Thomson tweeted: "Not the first time there has been a leak in Parliament I'm sure."

German chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Dublin to discuss the Brexit deadlock with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadker.

The meeting comes just days after Mr Varadker met with French president Emmanuel Macron.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the taoiseach said Mrs Merkel was "a strong and unwavering ally of Ireland".

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Dublin. Credit: AP

The House of Lords is currently assessing the Yvette Cooper bill and Labour's deputy leader Baroness Hayter has tabled a motion to rush the bill through the second chamber, allowing it to become law by the end of Thursday.

However Conservative peers have demanded the bill be dealt with in the normal way, which would effectively delay its passage beyond the EU summit next Wednesday.

The House of Lords members are assessing the bill passed by MPs calling for a delay to Brexit. Credit: PA

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said after leaving the latest round of talks, discussions will continue with the Government, but did not confirm whether the idea of a second referendum had been raised.

The cross-party meeting triggered anger from Conservative ranks, with two ministers resigning and a string of MPs launching attacks on the meeting - some Conservative members even quit the party in protest.

Conservative former chancellor, Ken Clarke, dubbed the Father of the House of Commons said "he had never seen a bigger shambles", as he called for a longer extension to Brexit.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a no-deal Brexit was looking "very unlikely" and suggested he could accept a customs union compromise.

Matt Hancock said no-deal Brexit was now looking unlikely. Credit: AP

He said that, while he "profoundly" disagreed with Jeremy Corbyn on economic and security matters, he believed the only remaining way to get Brexit through was by seeking Labour votes.

However the minister said he was "very, very strongly against" a second referendum, this despite the Chancellor describing it as a "perfectly credible" option.

Yvette Cooper's bill passed through the House of Commons by the narrowest of margins. Credit: PA

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said the prime minister was focused on finding what deal MPs will support, so she can deliver on Brexit.

After the bill was passed through the Commons on Wednesday evening, the Government said it was "disappointed" by MPs' decision to back the bill, claiming it is more of a hindrance than a help to its negotiation position.

If the bill is passed by the House of Lords, it means the UK will not crash out of the EU with no-deal on April 12, so long as an extension is approved by Brussels.

However Downing Street has warned if Yvette Cooper's bill is voted through it could create an "accidental no-deal Brexit" on April 12.

The bill allows Parliament to determine the length of extension which Mrs May would request at the EU summit next Wednesday.

However if the European Council proposes a different extension, the prime minister would have to return to the Commons for MPs' approval.

If MPs refuse, there would be no time to renegotiate the date with Brussels, Downing Street said.

  • ITV News Europe Editor James Mates explains Europe's reaction to any short extension requests and EU's worries of a long extension

A No 10 spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister has already set out a clear process through which we can leave the European Union with a deal and we have already committed to seeking a further extension.

"If passed, this bill would place a severe constraint on the Government's ability to negotiate an extension and reflect this new date in UK statute books before April 12."

As the Bill to seize control of the Brexit process went through the Commons, Mrs May suffered yet another humiliating defeat as the Government's attempt to prevent the legislation from limiting the powers of a minister resulted in a 180-vote defeat, with 91 Tory rebels.

The pace at which the bill moved through the Commons has caused outrage among some MPs.